Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Christmasing

Everybody knows that as soon as the turkey leftovers are in the fridge and the dishes are washed, it's open season on Christmas. In these parts, we aggressively hunt down and capture every last bit of it that we can find.
So we went with my aunt and uncle to pick out their Christmas tree. They've never gotten to do this with kids before, and we have an artificial tree (the cost of a real tree in Florida just cuts too far into my Christmas budget!), so it was big fun for all parties involved.

Emma tried to be sensitive to all the trees that weren't going to be chosen.

And Nana took charge of all the boys, telling them what was what and making sure the trees they were looking at didn't have any bare spots.

And a few of us didn't understand how it could take so dang long to pick out a tree.

But we did eventually find just the right one. It always works that way, doesn't it?

Emma helped Uncle Kenny make some festive guacamole.

There was a lot of fuss over whether the tree was straight and if its trunk might be a little crooked.

And once that was settled, my hubby, the Master Tree Lighter, worked his magic and decorations were added by the glow of white twinkle lights.


We are watching the first run of the Charlie Brown Christmas special while we wait to hear a little bit more about Grandpa. We'll know soon whether we will be going home today or tomorrow, but it doesn't look like he'll be joining us just yet.

The Best-Laid Plans

We were supposed to head back home this morning, but things don't always go according to our plans. My grandpa passed out while we were loading the van. We had to call an ambulance and it looks like he will be in the hospital for at least 24 hours. It may have something to do with his heart, though it's never been a problem before. We just don't know yet. So, instead of waiting until I get home to update you all with pictures and stories of our warm holiday, spent tucked away in north Georgia, I will busy myself with posting now, still tucked away in north Georgia on a drizzly, chilly morning.
We stayed with my aunt and uncle, who are both creative people. Among my aunt's many talents and occupations, she's a singer. She has closets full of stage clothes, hats and high heels. Most importantly, high heels that are nearly Emma's shoe size. Emma waits with great anticipation to dress up in Nana's closets (the kids call my aunt Nana).

Among my uncle's many occupations, he is a drummer. The kids both enjoyed a little time on his set in the basement.

My aunt and uncle, instead of children, have Yorkies. Between their two Yorkie babies and my parents' pack of three dogs and our little red poodle, there were dogs everywhere!

In fact, everywhere the turkey went, the dogs were sure to go.

A lovely table was set for all (Emma is working hard on something here as all the girls were bustling around and setting places)

I made my little egg-free pie and marked it with a "C" so no one would dare to touch my pie.

And the rest of the evening was pretty much spent in a comatose state.
All in all, though this year has brought tough times to so many, we have so much that we are grateful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop Me If You've Heard This One....

So, two great-grandparents, two grandparents, two parents, two kids and four dogs pile into a fifteen-passenger van for a nine-hour road trip.

Oh wait. That's not a joke. That's my real life.

I may have neglected to mention we were going out of town for Thanksgiving. We headed to the Atlanta area from Central Florida yesterday and are visiting my aunt and uncle for the holiday this year.
Long story short, I am not in charge of table decorating or mashed potatoes or creamed spinach or anything, really.
Except for pumpkin pie. I am always in charge of pumpkin pie because I make a mean pumpkin pie if I do say so m'self.
I am actually that girl. You know - the one that makes pie from real pumpkins? And on Monday night, I called my husband and asked him to absolve me of pumpkin guilt. I just couldn't track down and roast and puree those nice little sugar pumpkins. I actually didn't have time. He did it. I think he crossed himself like a priest and uttered a declaration of absolution.

People, I made my pies tonight with canned pumpkin. If that is not a step in the right direction, when it comes to overcoming my obsessive homemaking ways, I don't know what is.
We're having fun and relaxing and I am knitting like a crazy woman. Because this Thanksgiving, all I am in charge of is knitting and pie. And maybe sleeping in and taking a long bath.

DAILY BLISS: baked apples for breakfast and cardinals in the bird feeder

Monday, November 24, 2008


With all this Christmas making going on, I have decided to make something for myself too. I saw this pattern for a gorgeous robe while I was browsing and had to bring it home. I excitedly held it up with both hands, hiding my face behind its loveliness and showed Chris what I had procured, squealing, "Look what I'm going to make for me!" My husband looked down at me and patronizingly asked me if I had time to make it and I frankly told him, "no."

But look at it.
It's so pretty.
I really hope I can squeeze it in so I can wear it on Christmas morning!

My question is this: what fabric should I use? I definitely think it will be red. I've seen it made in velvet and I really like that. I've heard, though, that velvet is really tough to sew and, well, I'm a novice seamstress at best. I saw a beautiful red satin with tiny white polka dots and I love that too. But satin seems like it would also be really difficult to work with. Cotton just doesn't seem dressy enough, but I could be wrong.
So tell me, what do you think girls? Lurkers? Strangers? I'm open to suggestions.
I promise to share pictures if it gets made!

DAILY BLISS: I made a pumpkin pie with no eggs! Hooray! It will be a real Thanksgiving for me after all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It Was A Good Idea In Theory

Hello blog. Sorry I've been a little absent, but I've been a busy, busy little maker. Somehow, in an effort to "simplify" my holidays, I have decided to make presents for almost everyone I know. And somehow, while that seems a simplification, it has turned out to be a complication. I wanted to share a few pictures, just so you know that I have been busy. There was just a tiny bit of light left in my back yard last night, so they aren't great pictures.

I have got to stop apologizing for things like that.

So, I thought I'd make Emma's Christmas dress this year. It was a good thought. She picked out the fabric and the pattern and, due to my inexperience, they did not go well together. The jumper should have had a more drape-y fabric. Instead, she swung her hips back and forth saying, "ding dong, ding dong," pretending to be a Christmas bell. That might be distracting when she's on stage for her Christmas concert.

But I did finish this cute-y cute little scarf for somebody:

And a pair of funny sleep pants for Andrew:

And I made this sweet little apron for my grandma. She doesn't read this blog....I don't think. So it's probably safe to show a little bit of it:

I had more complete photographs of it, but...well...I am too vain to share them. They were awful. Or I looked awful in them. That's probably a little more accurate.
I've made a couple of stocking caps for some of my guys and I have one or two other completed projects that I absolutely cannot share, even if I want to so very badly that it makes me scrunch up my nose to think of not sharing. And I have so many more things on my list to make. The making part is fun. The time crunch part is not.

I did have a little visitor in the yard while I was trying to take some pictures for you. He enjoyed pecking around on one of my ancient, nearly-dead camellia bushes.
He cheered me significantly.

DAILY BLISS: Jack Bauer on TV again. Oh my. Very nice.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I have been writing a post for today (in my head) since Wednesday. I just haven't had the time to sit and get it out and it has grown very long. We had a relaxing Blackout Night on Wednesday and Thursday was the blur that it always is, between music lessons and ballet and today was, well, let's say an inefficient day of driving around and wasting gas. There are stories in between, but something happened at dinner that trumped my stories tonight. It's stuck in the front of my brain.

We went out for fast food tonight. I'm sorry, but it's true. Times are desperate. And we let Emma go play in the kids' area and Andrew wasn't with us. Chris and I were sitting in our booth and I occasionally caught a few wisps of conversation from the booth behind us that told me it was occupied by two girls in their mid teens.
At some point, my phone rang and I had to sort of turn to the side to get it out of my purse. Just as I turned around, I heard one of the girls say to her friend,
"I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but you could stand to lose 20 pounds."
And the poor other girl had no better retort than, "How is that not mean?"
So my little mom antennae went "sproing!" and I couldn't help but listen for what was next.
There was some accusation of being a little overweight and a suggestion that the girl could start running or something.
I was pretty disgusted.
But then.

Oh, then.

The first girl says, "You know, (insert boy's name) has a great body. He really takes care of himself and puts out some effort. All I'm saying is that if you lost, like, 20 pounds, he'd date you in a second."

Hooo boy.

I looked at Chris and I asked if he'd heard what I just heard. He hadn't, but he seemed to regret that I'd heard whatever was putting the look on my face that I had. Because he knew what was about to happen. He hates it when I address strangers. He really does.

But I was calm. I was good. I just coolly leaned back and uttered the overly-simplistic pop culture mantra of, "If he doesn't like you how you are, he isn't worth it."

See? I was good. It could've been worse. I have definitely said more embarrassing things to strangers.

And the poor girl gratefully acknowledged her agreement with me, and I left them alone. But I knew I was red all the way from my chest up to my chin because I was so angry.

I mean, I know it's not cool to be the mom person and call kids out for the stupid stuff they do. I used to hate it when my mom did that kind of stuff. Well, I still hate it when my mom does that kind of stuff. But it comes down to this - if my daughter were ever stuck across the table from some bitch who was telling her to drop 20 pounds so a self-absorbed teenage boy would want to go out with her, I'd want a (somewhat) older woman to intervene. I really would.
So I did it.

I would also like to state for the record that the attacked party stood up and I could not see where she'd find 20 pounds to drop.

It is entirely too late for me to get philosophical on this. Suffice it to say that here is yet another example of why I hung out with boys and of what scares me most about raising a daughter.

DAILY BLISS: Pushing Daisies on DVD - colorful sets, quirky dialogue and gorgeous dresses. It may as well have come out of my own head.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guitar Hero

I don't feel wordy today. I know, I know - somebody should take my temperature or something! So, mostly there will be photos.
Andrew's guitar class was invited to a local supermarket to play some festive music as they kicked off a holiday season sale. It was wonderful.

It's going to be cold tonight - at freezing or below locally. We were outside, right next to the fire logs. We don't get to have fires here often, so we must take advantage while we can!

He has been using my mom's old guitar. It's a beautiful folk instrument from, I think, Mexico. I love his smallish hands on it and the fingerprints they leave all over it.

He's focused. He's intense.

It's exhausting.

Little sisters can't stand too much of the focus being taken off them, though. They start chanting things like, "Take a picture of me, now!"

As they flit about between the light

and the shadows.

But we all know who the Hero of the Afternoon really was.

DAILY BLISS: a gorgeous, colorful, cloud-free sunset

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I socked my to-do list in the gut this weekend. I really did.
I spent all day Saturday making stuff and it felt so good. Of course, being close to Christmas, there isn't much of it I can show you. And of course, a cold front came through and the light was bad, so there are not yet any photos of what I actually can show you either. But I sewed an apron for my grandma, sleep pants for Drew and a Christmas jumper for Emma to wear in her school concert. And I knitted something too, which is not quite done but will be by tomorrow evening. Oh, and my washer is dead so I had to do laundry all day at my mom's. It's a good thing that knitting is portable.
The list had started to really overwhelm me, even though it's probably do-able, because I just hadn't had time to start on it. So now, I feel like I've got the ball rolling and it's nice. The boys had a guy day on Saturday, so Emma and I listened to Christmas music (after all, we were making Christms presents) and crafted and created together. It was festive.
The season is definitely changing quickly. My Aunt Sandy in Wisconsin sent us some leaves this year. Being Floridians, we don't get the gorgeous foliage that everyone else does this time of year. When we moved here I was 10 and already a deeply romantic soul. I mourned the loss of autum for many years. And my Grandma Bucklew faithfully sent me leaves in the mail every year. She'd pick the most perfect ones and iron them between pieces of wax paper to preserve them a bit. So, seeing those leaves in the mail, now that she's gone, was a really beautiful thing.

I am sorry to announce that I have to go to work tomorrow. My Making Mondays have been taken away from me. I suspect it has been a conspiracy from the start to keep me in the office five days a week. I have noticed a gradual increase in my work load since the end of the summer. Little things that my boss used to do for himself have wound up on my desk, and usually that desk is very full when I come in on Tuesdays. It's just become impossible to complete my tasks in the time I have. They are not difficult tasks by any stretch, they are just numerous.
Last week, my boss asked me to start coming back in on Mondays because he noticed I'd been "swamped." He was very surprised when I let him know that I'd been coming in early often enough to nearly make up the hours - that the "swamped" state of my desk is merely due to an increase in workload. That's when he told me I could take Fridays off instead, then.
I think he just doesn't want to answer the phone on Mondays. He's off on Fridays and so it wouldn't bother him anyway.
So, I have managed to bargain for Fridays off instead, temporarily. After the first of the year, I'll trudge back into the office five days a week. I guess. Bleah.

DAILY BLISS: gorgeous weather and seedless black grapes

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Here is the absolute best story of my week:
Thursday morning, I stumbled, bleary-eyed, to the shower and Chris came in to brush his teeth. Then he said, "Uh, you might want to stay in there for a minute." And I, not having had any coffee yet and struggling with the morning fog, asked him why. Because the only things I could think of were pretty gross and most of them involved my nervous dog who loses control of her bodily functions when things don't go according to routine.

And he replied, "Because there's a frog in here."

And I said, "What? Are you kidding?" Because he really could have been. He knows that the only time he can really pull one over on me is before coffee.

So I poked my head out through the shower curtain and started laughing - no, cackling - at the sight I beheld. There was a really big bullfrog sitting on the back of the toilet, next to Chris' razor. Chris looked pretty stressed out. I guess Mr. Frog had been sitting on the (closed) toilet seat and gave my poor, grizzly honey quite a start.
So, Chris went to get a container and I was screaming and laughing, "Get the camera! Get the camera! Get the camera!" And Chris was saying that no, he would not because he had to catch that thing. But he obliged and I stood there, dripping wet hand sticking out of the shower, trying to get a shot. And I didn't get one.
So I started rinsing out my conditioner and Chris said a few choice words and I asked him what had happened. He told me the frog had started jumping. And I think I squealed, "Really?" Before I burst out laughing again. And he irritably stated that, in fact, that's what frogs do. And told him that I knew that much about frogs, but I couldn't help it. I really liked that frog.
Mr. Frog was finally located, hiding in the cubby that holds our plunger and Chris gingerly carried it out the back door. And I was determined not to be thwarted in my efforts to get a photo.
So I jumped off the shower and dried off the big drips and headed out the back door.
After several shots, I realized that I was squatting on the back porch, wrapped in a towel, my wet hair sticking up in every direction, trying to hold the towel closed in the right places while trying to take a low-light photograph.
And then I wondered why my attempts at modesty were limited to merely keeping the towel closed. Because we don't have a fence across the back, it was dark outside, and my porch light was on. With me out there in plain sight, laughing wildly at the frog (which they could not see, I'm sure), squatting and balancing on my tip-toes and taking pictures. Pictures of a plunger caddy, from what anyone further than 10 feet might be able to guess.
Oh dear.
It was dark and my camera was still set on all the settings I'd played with the night before, so I ended up just having to take a picture with my flash. Here's the poor little fellow:

He's got my hair all stuck on his feet, but I felt so bad for his frightful morning.
And when I got inside, I started to feel bad for my husband's frightful morning. I realized that he had not laughed at all throughout this incident. I asked him if he had an issue with frogs.
He turned up his nose and said he didn't like them.
And I laughed again, accusing him of being scared of frogs.
He defended himself aggressively, reminding me that he can pick up a roach with his bare hands (I kid you not - that is exactly what he said when I called him out). He said he just doesn't like the fact that they will pee on you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blackout Night: Balance

I was definitely unable to carry through with my plans of a no-cook supper. I had stuff to make bruschetta - tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic - and I was going to just use a loaf of untoasted bread. But I had a chicken in the fridge that had to be cooked or tossed, so roasted chicken and potatoes it was.
I enlisted the help of my favorite tiny chef. We put on our aprons, both of which were purchased this weekend at an antique shop. I just adore this one. It's my favorite vintage one yet and I suspect it'll be the next one to be worn in public.

Emma washed the potatoes for me while she hosted an imaginary cooking show, instructing her viewers about just how the potatoes should be scrubbed and cut. All the while, we were accompanied by the sweet sounds of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" on the euphonium (that's a fancy baritone), courtesy of my son.
The sun went down and we enjoyed our chicken in the dark. And then we flipped on the lights for just a few minutes-
to make ice cream sundaes!
We try to celebrate in some way when the kids bring home good report cards. Which is pretty much every time. Well, it is every time. So, we set up a delicious sundae bar (with the non-dairy stuff for me):

We ate our sundaes quietly, with all due reverence.

Then we sprawled out on the floor with my collection of Christmas books. They're mostly the Gooseberry Patch ones. My children searched and searched for the special something this year that they would make as a Christmas gift for all the grown-ups they love. Last year it was hot cocoa mix, this year....who knows? My new apron and I sat in my Mama Chair and took notes as they called out to me their wishes and hopes for Christmas presents this year.

Some of us wore big, giant lion slippers, too. Just to get comfy.

I would like to add that this is the first time in many months that my son was willing, nay, excited to have his picture taken. He even posed and sat very still.

Oh - and I learned a new trick with my camera. I'm trying to trudge through the manual and learn something new at least once a week.
Today's trick is called white balance. You know how candle-lit pictures are always orange? Well, mine are anyway. Because I don't know what I'm doing. That is evidenced by the awful blur here that I decided was acceptable enough. I was not going to fiddle with my tripod in the dark last night. No, I was not.

Well, I told my camera to adjust the white balance, and see how different it looks? It's still got kind of a greenish cast, but I think it looks a lot more natural anyway.

All in all, a satisfying balance. In my camera and in my home.

DAILY BLISS: magic shell ice cream topping and sprinkles, of course!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Bragging

My little girl was tested today for the Alpha program at school. She passed with flying colors and, while I've decided to keep her numbers to myself, suffice it to say that she is on the far end of the bell curve when it comes to IQ. I am very pleased and oh-so-proud.
I made it through the rest of my day and went to a thing at Andrew's school tonight. And when I came home, I ate my dinner late and sat down in the Man Chair with a trashy novel from the Dirty Book Lady at the church where I work. She made another drop of books last week, leaving a tied-up grocery bag of paperbacks next to my car at work, reeking of cigarette smoke and mothballs. I always feel obligated to pick one that looks the most innocuous and read it, just in case she asks which one was my favorite.

I intended to sew a little bit. I have my machine sitting on the kitchen table, which means that we are eating around the coffee table until further notice. This set-up is intended to spur me on to finishing things. It doesn't usually work because I am a little rebellious - even when I'm the one that makes up the rules. Especially when I am the one that makes up the rules.
So, my intentions were good. But my husband was doing the dishes, and next thing I knew, he was heading toward me with a steaming mug of...
"What is that?" I said.
"It's decaf," he said.
"Oh my! Thank you! Why such a lovely surprise?" I asked.
"Because you said yes."
Hm. Well, I have a hard time saying no to things, but what had I said yes to?
"What did I say yes to?" I asked.



And a wave of warm tingles spread all the way from my chest to my toes.

DAILY BLISS: eggnog coffeemate and smart kids

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting Nowhere

I didn't get a full Monday off today for reasons that you will find even more boring than I do, so I won't get into it.
I did have big plans, though, for this afternoon.
I spent a lot of my weekend "taking care" of myself and doing things "just for me" and all that garbage that we have to do when we can't seem to put one foot in front of the other anymore. I hate that I'm needy.
At the close of the weekend, I considered my to-do list. Much of it is to-do-before-Christmas and most of it is Christmas presents that I'm making for people. And I can't help it. I see cute things and I think of how perfect they would be for just this one special person and then I can't let go of the fantastic imagining of giving them a lovely, handmade bit of my thoughts for them.
But as I considered my list, I knew I couldn't do all of it. I've made a few cuts so far, but I really did some crossing-off and canceling-of-plans on Sunday. I even threw away a few sewing projects that I knew I was never going to finish.
I got out my little sale flier for the nearest fabric store and went into Plan B mode. And I woke this morning full of optimism, list in hand. And yes, I knew that my whole list was sooooo not getting crossed off today, but I still was pretty sure that most of it would.
But it really didn't happen.
I did get to the fabric store and bought some patterns - pajama pants for Drew, a Christmas dress for Emma (there will be at least one instance where she will need to be on stage)- and I bought fabric for those things and one other thing.

Goodness, it's going to be tough to discuss my gift-making here, since most people receiving gifts read this blog. Hm. There will be a dearth of details and photos, I'm sad to say.

At any rate, I decided to have lunch with my hubby since he was working locally and I was not at work. It was nice. I ate buckets of Chili's salsa.
And I came home to wash all that fabric, feeling confident I could at least whip out those pajama pants before I got the kids from school.

And my washer made a funny noise, and it smelled like it was on fire, and it was the second time this week that that happened. So, I had a washer full of soapy water and fabric. I guessed at that point that sewing was not happening.

So I picked up my knitting needles.
I promptly dropped stitches, had the needle fall out of a half-knit row, and broke my yarn when pulling it out of the skein.

So I got out a magazine.
That will not help me cross anything off my list, but some days you are just not going to get anywhere, and the sooner you realize it, the better.

DAILY BLISS: cute shoes with bows on the toes and the potential of new fabric and patterns - I feel a crafting binge coming on!

Friday, November 7, 2008


So, today was a good day.
I told myself that, since I was going in to work early and I'd be there for a long time by myself, so no one would know what I was doing anyway, I was also going to bring my camera's manual and learn a new trick. I ended up learning two tricks, actually, but the big one was how to override the auto focus, so I can move the focal point to, say, the side of a photo instead of the middle. Like this little shot of my desk. It's subtle here, but you can see that the middle is definitely not the focal point:

Now you know what my focal point is. All. Day. Long. My lovely desk.
I also learned how to switch film modes from regular to chrome - simulated slide film, essentially. The idea is that the colors are super-saturated. Some of the following photos were taken in chrome, some were not. You can maybe tell the difference, but it's not bowl-you-over different. Just fresh and colorful.
I left work a little early so I could live up to my challenge of wearing an apron in public. I was wearing mostly black today and I just don't have a cute apron to go with it, so I needed to stop at home and change before picking up the kids. Coincidentally, as a dangerous and rather newly-minted brunette wearing black, I ran across - count 'em - three Metallica songs on the radio. And my drive is only, like, 15 minutes long. So, rocking out in the car was only the Right Thing To Do. I pummelled my steering wheel aggressively and made twisted rock faces and caught myself driving a little bit too fast.
My selection for the first Apron Challenge was a sweet little half-apron that Mindy bought for me at Anthropologie a couple of years ago. I was wearing it in car line while waiting for Andrew and noticed that one good thing about having an apron on is that you can clean your sunglasses without stretching out your t-shirt.

Of course, nobody sees you while you wait in car line, so that doesn't count as public apron-wearing. But I did walk up to the sidewalk to pick up Emma from her school. I was going to take some pictures of me wearing the apron at school, but it all happened so fast: the other moms were fondling my apron (literally - several of them touched it) and asking if I'd made it (wow! I'm not that good at sewing yet) and why I was wearing it and they were all smiling and I had my camera poised and ready when my adolescent son thought he'd be funny and untied the apron. It went falling toward the sidewalk and...
It's an odd thing. It almost was embarrassing (in fact, I think I blushed - see my weird things list, item number 2). Even though it's not like my pants fell down, it still felt like accidentally coming undressed in public. Boy did I give it to him when we got back to the car!
Once we had gotten rid of the boys for the weekend (they went to a middle school youth group weekend event), Emma and I went to the grocery store to pick up provisions for dinner and knitting night. And of course, the apron was right at home with all of the food and cooking products.

You would think that people have never seen a woman wearing an apron in the produce department, taking pictures of herself. Although I did get a couple of sly grins from older gents. I like older gents. They flirt outrageously and shamelessly, but usually not in a creepy way.

Emma requested pomegranates for supper.

Oh crimson indulgence!
Oh jeweled delight!

Um. Sorry. I get carried away about pomegranates.
They're so beautiful and tasty. They make me happy.

You would especially think that people had never seen a woman wearing an apron in public, taking pictures of herself and singing the Water Buffalo Song. Our local Catholic radio station plays a Veggie Tales song every morning at 7:45-ish, right when kids are all in the car on their way to school. The Veggie Tune of the Day is often stuck with us throughout the afternoon.

When we got home, we made two pans of delicious pumpkin brownies. It's hard to find stuff to bake when you're allergic to eggs. I've discovered, though, that searching through vegan recipes usually turns up something delicious and egg-free, even if it is usually seasoned with a bit of social activism. The recipe I used can be found here, and I made one pan as dictated and I even made a gluten-free batch for my friend who can't eat any wheat. I just substituted oat flour, which worked fine in this instance.
And then my girls came. Whooo did we have a wild time tonight! We laughed ourselves breathless and got, you know, some knitting done. I played a little bit more with my new focusing tricks.

And I tried to take some pictures of the lovely knitters. Not everybody likes to be photographed all the time.

So, I tried the super-duper, auto focus override function instead.
That way, nobody's face is actually on camera and I get to play with the manual functions in my camera. Everybody wins.

I tucked Emma into my huge bed. Thanks for that idea, Mom.
Since the boys are both gone, we're going to cuddle up and sleep in together. Tomorrow? Who knows! Fueled on leftover dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free (but definitely not yum-free) pumpkin pie brownies, we will be able to take on anything!

DAILY BLISS: My mommy brought me an organic, raw chocolate truffle that was to-die-for